The Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony was founded in 1902 outside of Woodstock, New York, by Englishman Ralph Whitehead. Inspired by John Ruskin, Whitehead invited independent craftsmen and designers to work in traditional crafts, which included furniture, pottery, textiles, and metalwork. This oak linen press epitomizes Byrdcliffe furniture in its simple, rectilinear shape, hand-carved panels, natural wood surfaces finished with transparent stains in nature's colors. The carved panels, of stylized sassafras leaves, were designed by Edna M. Walker, who graduated from Brooklyn's Pratt School of Design where she studied with Arthur Wesley Dow. The cabinet remained in the Whitehead family who generously made it a partial gift to the Museum.
Inscription: [inside right door] Byrdcliffe / 1904 [within an octagon encircling a stylized lily burned into the wood]
Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead; his wife, Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead; their son, Peter Whitehead; Mark Willcox, Jr., Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
Artist: Possibly from the Workshop of Duncan Phyfe (1770–1854)Date: 1835–45Medium: Mahogany, mahogany veneer, gilt brass, mirror glass, marble, ivory with white pine, mahogany, yellow poplarAccession: 1983.225On view in:Gallery 738